Street Artists, Paris
We have always encountered musicians of various kinds in the Metro stations, but this trip we saw more than usual on the trains themselves and several were accordion players. I know they are there for the tourists, but still think they add something and I understand they have to audition for a permit, so are usually pretty good. The guy in the photo obviously targeted us and when I put a tip in his cup, he said “American?” I said “Oui,” and, as I had my wife beside me, he said, “Music is for love.” Hokey? Yes, but we enjoyed it.
Paris is full of all sorts of street performers. One of my favorite are the "silent" mimes that line the streets in any part of the city.
The mimes usually have some sort of historical or comical costume and pose for hours without the slightest movement.
I've always found these performers to be very interesting as they can hold a pose for so long that it's quite scary.
There are some really good musicians out there on the street, you just need to have your ears and eyes open to catch them.
Photo 1 - 2) - These fellows were actually Americans, dressed for the part, doing some be-bop on the Pont St. Louis just behind Notre Dame.
Photo 3 - 4) - This fellow was a sort of one-man-band, although he can't be seen amidst all the junk around him, Playing protest songs about everything from the French government to some Bob Dylan stuff adapted to his complaints. All that stuff there was carried around on a bike and attached trailer. He was at the same spot on Pont St Louis, but in the evening. This is a good spot for buskers as there is no road traffic on this bridge.
Photo 5) - Taken during the VT meet in Paris at Place des Abbesses on Montmartre. Very brave fellows, as it was absolutely slashing it down as they tried to keep warm and dry under the trees.
Nobody knows exactly how many musicians use the street as their stage. This traditon is an old one. Even the great Edith Piaf started singing for change on the Paris streets.
We found the PARIS-INDIAN street performers near The Eiffel Tower were really good.
Paris street performers have, like these Indians, traveled long and far to play here.
These shows are very off the cuff and can happen anywhere in Paris. When out and about, keep your ears and eyes open and you most certainly will come across an impromptu spot of song and dance somewhere. This one happened just in front of the Pantheon in the 5th.
On our 3rd Day in Paris we took the Metro to the Sacre Coeur area. Upon ascending from the Metro station we came upon this quartet of senior musicians in a small park.
After downloading this photo I studied it a little more and came up with the following questions.
1) Are the 2 girls at the right enjoying the singing of the guy at right or the banjo player?
2) How long have these 4 been doing this as a group?
3) If you are driving down the street at left pay no attention to the brown walking signs since you can't turn right anyway down the one way street
4) Is that the quartet's logo on the top of the tuba?
Just some questions I had!! Has anyone seen this group and have answers for me??
At a very different point in the musical spectrum, this group of young musicians were playing to an appreciative audience in a somewhat run-down section of the arches surrounding the Place des Vosges.
I presume the group may well be from a music school and, from VT tips, it seems quite a few others have encountered different groups of classical musicians here. Check Vter Nemorino’s tip for a listing of reports . These musicians were playing one of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos – and doing an excellent job of it. You hear about matching wine to meals: this was matching music to locale, if ever there was!
Had I not been bent on covering as much touristic ground as possible, I would have been very tempted to stay and soak up the ambience. Whether they are there daily I do not know, but my visit was on a Sunday.
Paris has a range of buskers, in all manner of locations and with a wide range of talent.
The sounds of jazz music wafted out to meet me as I walked across the pedestrian-only Solferino bridge near the Musée d’Orsay. Under the Quai Francois Mitterand near the Tuileries Gardens, I found the source: a one man band. There was nobody else in sight, but he was determinedly blowing his trumpet, playing his accordion and hitting his drums long before I appeared. He was not bad, either.
I left a few coins in his hat, stopped to listen for a while then took my photo, receiving a smile in return. As I walked into the distance, he still was playing to a non-existent audience. I’d like to think the photo conveys the loneliness of this solitary busking jazzman.
Paris will not be Paris without the painting artists in the streets. Especially at the Place du Tertre in
Montmartre and the bridges near the Ile de Cité you can't miss them. Mostly lots of people are standing around the painting artist to look if the painting looks like the 'model'.
The artists have all their own style, making caricature drawings to a natural looking paintings. Some of the paintings are extremily good look-alikes, but some images could also depict anyone around or one of my neighbours at home.
Another magnificent place to spot streetartists is the square in front of Centre Pompidou. Especially around 18:00 o´clock there always are artists showing their skills. There are painters, comediants, living statues, musicians... And because the Forum des Halles is close, there always is enough audience to watch all this.
In front of the Notre Dame we saw these amazing street artists. There was a huge crowd standing around them, seeing them do their tricks on their skates. They had made a jump out of wooden board and they jumped over a stick at a height of up to 2,5 metres! It was a really cool sight, especially because the crowd started to applaude after every jump. Fortunately the French policemen accepted it all.
So the square and the bridge in front of the Notre Dame is a përfect place to see street artists in the evening hours...
The huge number of tourists attract the street performances as well. My favourite was the "Frightening guy in the mask", who followed girls near Notre Dame and tried to frighten them by taking their hands slighly from the back.
However, he was a very good guy. He avoided older ladies and kids, and whatever happened he took off the mask and helped to clear the situation. He even got a kiss from a girl who fainted, after life returned in her :)
If you have seen some musicians on the street you will see a lot more in the metro! There is one in almost every metro station playing the most diverse genres possible.
Most of them are using a battery powered device to give background music for their play, like this guy, who actually got on the metro! :)
Paris is full of street musicians. This guy is one of the very few "traditional" ones, without background music played from a battery powered device.
There are also some who just play for the fun, like the drummers we saw in Jardin du Trocadero one night.
Shaking hands with Parisian mime?, why not? look at my picture, please :-).
Haha, I can't stop laughing. Look, what happened today (15 Jan 2004). A women, new VT-er living in Paris e-mailed that she found... her husband for the first time in internet just on my pictures and asked me when I took these pics of her husband named Alexandre. I took them in September 1993.
Isn't the world small? Btw the husband was very, very sympathetic :-).